This is the first of a three-part series on change management. In this blog, I’ll try to answer the question, “What is change management?” from both a process and a benefits (or use-case) perspective.
In the second installment, I’ll address best practices for both planning for and measuring the success of change management initiatives. I’ll also examine some of the issues that EMA has seen arise when IT organizations try to establish a more cohesive cross-domain approach to managing change. In part three, I’ll focus on the impacts of cloud, agile, and mobile, including the growing need for investments in automation and analytics to make change management more effective.
Change Management Processes
Like many words and concepts in English language, especially when applied to technology, “change management” carries with it a wide variety of associations. In terms of the processes established in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), change management is best understood as a strategic approach to planning for change.
ITIL defines change management succinctly as, “the process responsible for controlling the lifecycle of all changes, enabling beneficial changes to be made with minimum disruption to IT Services.” As such, change management is a logical system of governance that addresses a set of relevant questions, which include the following:
■ Who requested the change?
■ What is the reason for the change?
■ What is the desired result of the change?
■ What are the risks involved with making the change?
■ What resources are required to deliver the change?
■ Who is responsible for the build, test, and implementation of the change?
■ What is the relationship between this change and other changes?
But this system of governance doesn’t stand alone. Actually implementing and managing changes requires attention to other ITIL processes. These include (but are not limited to):
■ Service asset and configuration management (SACM) – “The process responsible for maintaining information about configuration items required to deliver an IT Service, including their relationships.” SACM addresses how IT hardware and software assets (including applications) have been configured and, even more critically, identifies the relationships and interdependencies affecting infrastructure and application assets.
■ Release and deployment management – “The process responsible for planning, scheduling and controlling the build, test and deployment of releases, and for delivering new functionality required by the business while protecting the integrity of existing services.” As you can imagine, release management and automation should go hand in hand.
There are other ITIL processes relevant to managing change effectively, including capacity management, problem management, availability management, and continual service improvement, just to name a few. From just this brief snapshot, you might get the (correct) impression that change management in the “big picture” is at the very heart of effective IT operations. If done correctly, change management touches all of IT—including the service desk, operational teams, development, the executive suite, and even non-IT service consumers. This central position makes change management both an opportunity and a challenge.
Change Management Use Cases
Probably the best way to understand the “change management opportunity” is to look at some of the use cases affiliated with it. Effective change management can empower a wide range of other initiatives, from lifecycle asset management to DevOps, service impact management, and improved service performance. EMA consultants have estimated that more than 60% of IT service disruptions come from the impacts of changes made across the application infrastructure—and this estimate is conservative compared to some of the other industry estimates I’ve seen. Having good change management processes and technologies in place is also a foundation for better automation, as well as for better optimization of both public and private cloud resources. And the list goes on.
Even the list below, derived in large part from CMDB Systems: Making Change Work in the Age of Cloud and Agile, is a partial one, but it should provide a useful departure point for your planning—as you seek to prioritize the use case(s) most relevant to you.
■ Governance and compliance: Managing change to conform with critical industry, security, and asset-related requirements for compliance, while minimizing change-related disruptions. This, can provide significant financial benefits including OpEx savings, superior service availability, improved security and savings from avoiding the penalty costs incurred when changes are made poorly.
■ Data center consolidation—mergers and acquisitions: Planning new options for data center consolidation is definitely on the rise, and mergers and acquisitions often lead to data center consolidation initiatives. Effective change management can shorten consolidation time, minimize costs, and improve the quality of the outcome.
■ Disaster recovery – Disaster recovery initiatives may be an extension of data center consolidation, or they may be independent. Automating change for disaster recovery is one of the more common drivers for a more systemic approach to change management.
■ The proverbial “move to cloud” – The stunning rise of virtualization and the persistent move to assimilate both internal and public cloud options make change impact management and effective change automation essential.
■ Facilities management and Green IT – This use case requires dynamic insights into both configuration and “performance”-related attributes for configuration items (CIs), both internal to IT (servers, switches, desktops, etc.) and external to traditional IT boundaries (facilities, power, etc.).
■ Optimizing the end-user experience across heterogeneous endpoints – Meeting the challenges of unified endpoint management including mobile endpoints, requires a flexible adoption of change management best practices and automation. But the benefits of doing this can be significant—impacting asset management, security, and financial optimization, while increasing end-user satisfaction with IT services.
One common infrastructure challenge arises with virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs have long been relied upon to deliver the network connectivity and security enterprises required at a price they could afford. Organizations still routinely turn to them to provide internal and trusted third-parties with "secure" remote access to isolated networks. However, with the rise in mobile, IoT, multi- and hybrid-cloud, as well as edge computing, traditional enterprise perimeters are extending and becoming blurred ...
The configuration management database (CMDB), along with its more federated companion, the configuration management system (CMS), has been bathed in a deluge of negative opinions from all fronts — industry experts, vendors, and IT professionals. But from what recent EMA research on analytics, ITSM performance and other areas is indicating, those negative views seem to be missing out on a real undercurrent of truth — that CMDB/CMS alignments, whatever their defects, strongly skew to success in terms of overall IT progressiveness and effectiveness ...
The on-demand economy has transformed the way we move around, eat, learn, travel and connect at a massive scale. However, with disruption and big aspirations comes big, complex challenges. To take these challenges head-on, on-demand economy companies are finding new ways to deliver their services and products to an audience with ever-increasing expectations, and that's what we'll look at in this blog ...
To thrive in today's highly competitive digital business landscape, organizations must harness their "digital DNA." In other words, they need to connect all of their systems and databases — including various business applications, devices, big data and any instances of IoT and hybrid cloud environments — so they're accessible and actionable. By integrating all existing components and new technologies, organizations can gain a comprehensive, trusted view of their business functions, thereby enabling more agile deployment processes and ensuring scalable growth and relevance over the long-term ...
Advancements in technology innovation are happening so quickly, the decision of where and when to transform can be a moving target for businesses. When done well, digital transformation improves the customer experience while optimizing operational efficiency. To get there, enterprises must encourage experimentation to overcome organizational obstacles. In other words ...
IoT adoption is growing rapidly, and respondents believe 30% of their company’s revenue two years from now will be due to IoT, according to the new IoT Signals report from Microsoft Corp ...
It's been all over the news the last few months. After two fatal crashes, Boeing was forced to ground its 737. The doomed model is now undergoing extensive testing to get it back into service and production. Large organizations often tell stakeholders that even though all software goes through extensive testing, this type of thing “just happens.” But that is exactly the problem. While the human component of application development and testing won't go away, it can be eased and supplemented by far more efficient and automated methods to proactively determine software health and identify flaws ...
Despite significant investment in AI, many companies are still struggling to stabilize and scale their AI initiatives, according to State of Development and Operations of AI Applications 2019 from Dotscience ...
IT has two principal functions: create a network that satisfies the business needs of the company and then optimize that network. Unfortunately, the modern enterprise is buried under a myriad of network improvement projects that often do not get deployed ...
Even large companies are not yet realizing the potential of digital transformation, according to a new study from Cherwell Software, The Power of Process Integration in the Information Age ...